When Mommy Ruins Christmas

I have been the Mommy that ruined Christmas for the past several years.  I think many mother’s do……I realized it last year when I began the Advent Activities…. WhenMommyRuinsChristmas   Last year seemed to be the first year that Pinterest really took Christmas by the horns and activities and crafts and traditions smothered my inbox.  And so began the realization I wasn’t doing *enough* to remind my kids the true meaning of Christmas.  I also wasn’t making memorable ornaments with them, being creative with our Elf, baking 72 varieties of cookies, or monogramming everything they owned.  Then there was the matching jammies.  Don’t get me started on how many stores I dragged them through last year for that! I saw so many blogs talking about Advent calendars.  Show your child the ‘true meaning of Christmas’.  No doubt you’ve seen these posts too and set up a calendar or countdown of your own.  Last year I paid $10 for a very popular downloadable version of Advent activities.  I cut, pasted, and laminated.  I bought felt, and bags, and clothespins.  I hung up the activities in our living room on a cute little rope.  It looked so cute.  I probably posted it on Facebook and texted friends, “Don’t forget Jesus is the reason for the season!”–I’m sure was the message I sent along with that picture. IMG_3181 The first night I called the family over, husband and all, to do Day 1’s activities.  Oh my.  “Sit down!”  “I’m not going to keep reading if you don’t be quiet!”  “Stop eating the paper!”  “Is that nicely colored?” I became more frustrated.  The living room floor was a MESS and I was yelling at the kids.  My husband was holding a swaddled 3 day old baby and doing the 5 ‘S’s’ and looking at me like, “Honey, I love you…but these kids could care less and you’re being a total…..”Mommy Ruining Christmas” type mom. The Advent Calendar I had spent money and time putting together dwindled after just a few days until it totally fizzled.  I felt like a failure. Then there was the goal of blogging about alllll my favorite Christmas cookies from when I was a child.  Coconut macaroons, date pinwheels, iced sugar cookies, pecan tassies.  I went and bought all the ingredients.  I began baking. “Mommy, can I help?”  chimes in one child.  “Me too!”  the others say.  At first, I’m as jolly as Old Saint Nick and there is Christmas joy in my kitchen.  “Yes, my dears, come on!”  I give them all jobs and it all starts out so nicely…until the eggs cracked, shells in the cookies, “his bowl is bigger than mine!” issues began. “Everyone OUT!”  I yelled.  “This is a mommy job.  I need photos for my blog.  Go play–out, out out!” Precious cookie memory fail. What about the handprint ornament?  You know where you paint their hands white and they grasp the ball and then you paint their fingers like snowmen.  “But I want to make my own snowman!!!!”  I reply, “it’s a mommy job, I want these to be special.”  “Don’t touch your face!”  “Don’t touch the cabinets!” Would it have really mattered if they just did their own? Then there’s the Christmas tree.  They get so excited.  I’m sure yours do too.  I wanted to do a blue, white, and silver themed tree this year.  My boys quickly came in and hung a ton of red and mis matched ornaments all over.  I gave them their own little tree in their room, but alas, they wanted to help with the big one.  I was so tempted to rearrange the ornaments after bedtime.  Get my tree back to perfect.  So I could take that perfect photo.  I held back.  I didn’t. I realized I’ve ruined many Christmas memories for my children and I by trying to keep up with the Jones’.  We have these crazy goals each year.  And year after year it seems to become more elaborate and expensive!  I become more frustrated and the truth is, the boys just want to get a little messy and have some fun. This year, when I pulled out my elaborate paper bag Advent Calendar from our storage box this weekend, I didn’t even bother hanging it up.  I knew it wasn’t for this stage in our family.  Christmas will be special either way.  The birth of a Savior will be the the center of our house because I’ll make it one by remembering that first Christmas. I was thinking about Mary and her baby Jesus.  No pinterest.  No tree.  No cookies.  She just had her baby, adored Him, and worshipped Him.  As should we.  I do not need to do an activity a day, have matching jammies, and mix up organic homemade reindeer food to stress me and my family out to no end.  At least not yet. Are those ideas fun?  YES!  Do I WISH I could do them?  You bet!  It SEEMS so picturesque and sweet!!!  Memories and laughter and hugs.  However, please remember we bloggers take a picture of what we WANT you to see.  Not what really happens.  Our videos usually show our nice mommy voices. So, if you’re stressing about printing out every single Nativity printable Pinterest has to offer and you’re going into debt over ink, take a step back.  Have a Mary moment and just hold that baby of yours and sit down with a book.  Worship our King.  Share the story of how a very LITTLE Christmas can be the most beautiful one of all. I am going to try like crazy to not ruin Christmas this year.  More snuggling.  Less planning.  Minimal lessons.  Lots of Jesus and being a mother that shines His message.  A time will come to add new traditions into our family.  However, for this year, I just want to focus on a mom who yells less 🙂


  1. I really need to read this today – thanks 🙂

  2. So awesome! Thanks for the reminder. I just came to a similar understanding this morning about my own need for perfection. I gave up perfectionism 4-5 years ago when I realized that my sweet little guy was becoming obsessed with messes (because mommy was so obsessed with not making them). Well, I got a new awakening this morning. I realized that I had not really recovered from this problem as much as I thought I had. There was still a deep hidden anxiety of failure I had failed to see. The Lord was saying It is now time to root it out. It is hindering me in so many ways I couldn’t see and we can’t move on to the next level until its gone. So…..

    I’ve been coloring and laminating a curricula to prepare for a friend to use. Her little guy is a year ahead of mine and I was going to do this next year anyway for him so I might as well get it ready the way I wanted it for her to use (she’s borrowing it). It will make it last longer and make it colorful and reusable. The problem is I wanted all the coloring to be really Really REALLY good before I laminate it. My 7 year old wanted to help (it is going to be his after all) but I was very reluctant to let him. After all he colors about the same as most 7 year old boys….quickly, with multi colors, and not always inside the lines. After my breakthrough this morning I let him color as many pages as he wanted and however he wanted to do them. He was so happy and helpful and I had much less coloring to do as a result. Its only a small step but I’m looking forward to bigger ones to come!

  3. STOP ME IN MY TRACKS!!! As I sit here with guilt in my heart, how has ADVENT gotten so out of control. Thank you and THANK YOU. Sometimes you need to just hear or in this case SEE in writing what is really going on. We have 3 boys and YES of course we want them to focus on Jesus Christ, as HE IS the reason for the season but in doing so am I missing something? My heart will reflect on what you wrote and I can only say Thank you for sharing your heart as it has pierced mine. Merry Christmas

  4. Can I get an AMEN? I dunno the only “pinterest” idea we did so far was make ornaments.. which our tree lacks, so I was thinking of fun ones to do with the kids.. then blog about, anything other than that.. eh.. I don’t have the time to sleep, how am I gonna have time for any of those pinterest ideas!

  5. Thank you SO much for saying this!!! It’s crazy how blogging can get. In fact, I’m thinking of cuttng back quite a bit so I can just live life a bit more normally! I’d also love to snippets of this on my blog as a “Guest Post”. If that’s play with you, just let me know. 🙂

  6. If you really want to just relax and curl up with a book this advent season, I have a couple of great suggestions. Jotham’s Journey, Bartholomew’s Passage and Tabitha’s Travels are awesome advent books. My kid’s beg to read ahead after every chapter. http://www.christianbook.com/ytreeide-advent-stories-3-volumes/arnold-ytreeide/pd/41720X?event=CROSSBOX

  7. Dragged, not drug. I know. It sounds ridiculous. But “dragged” really is the past tense form of “drag.” –a grammarian

  8. {Sigh} Why do we mothers do this too ourselves? I think we tried that same advent devotional last year and made it through one week. I’m taking a much more relaxed approach this year. Our memories will come by more organic means and will be just as great!

  9. Thank you for taking a weight off my shoulders…I was only reading this on FB ahead of making the Master List for Ruining Christmas…when I read your blog. What a blessing this message was to me. Thank you!

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